Outages Near 112,000 in Va As Storm Reaches State

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Nearly 112,000 customers are without power and schools are closed in parts of Virginia as a late-winter storm moves across the state.

The outages include about 65,700 Dominion Virginia Power customers, more than 43,000 customers of electric cooperatives and about 3,240 Appalachian Power customers.

Most of the outages are in the Shenandoah Valley.

The University of Virginia and public school systems in the affected areas canceled classes Wednesday. Local government offices in Culpeper, Waynesboro and several other localities also are closed.

A winter storm warning remains in effect for these areas.

The National Weather Service says parts of northern and western Virginia could see more than a foot of snow.

The Virginia Department of Transportation says it has plenty in its snow-removal budget to tackle the storm.

Va. Records 1st Death Linked to Winter Storm

State police say a 22-year-old Russell County man was killed early Thursday after his vehicle ran off Route 632 in southwest Virginia, went over an embankment and landed upside down in a creek. Trooper S.A. Sutherland said road conditions were icy.

The victim was identified as James D. Hess of the community of Swords Creek.

As of midnight Wednesday, Virginia State Police responded to more than 650 storm-related traffic accidents and about 570 disabled vehicles across the state. State police say a majority of the crashes involved only damaged vehicles.

Virginia Trooper Killed In The Line of Duty

Gov. Bob McDonnell says a trooper involved in a shooting along Interstate 85 in Dinwiddie County has died.

McDonnell says 40-year state police veteran Master Trooper Junius Walker was shot while on duty on Thursday.

Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller says Walker was shot multiple times around 1:30 p.m. He called for backup, and a trooper who arrived within two minutes saw a male suspect shooting into Walker’s car. The second trooper fired at the suspect, who fled into the woods on foot.

The suspect was arrested before 2 p.m. Charges are pending.

Geller says authorities are working to determine if another suspect was involved in the shooting, near the 45-mile marker.

A portion of the interstate remains closed while police investigate.

Local Missing Girl May Have Been Abducted As Part Of Sex Trafficking Ring

New details emerged Friday in a press conference at the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office regarding missing 16 year old Augusta County girl Jennifer Carolina Romero.

Sheriff Fisher said that while she still may possibly be a runaway, all signs point to her being abducted as part of a sex trafficking ring.

Mynor Franco-Depaz has been arrested in relation to the case and is charged with one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

The investigation continues with the assistance of The Virginia State Police, Maryland State Police, and the FBI.

Va Schools Earn Education Excellence Award

2013 Governor’s Award for Educational Excellence

Two schools – Rocky Run Middle in Fairfax County and Kemps Landing Magnet in Virginia Beach – earned the Governor’s Award for Educational Excellence, the highest VIP award. Both schools will receive a display banner and a signed resolution of commendation from Governor McDonnell. No school divisions qualified for a Governor’s Award for Educational Excellence.

2013 Board of Education Excellence Awards

Fifty-one schools earned the Board of Education Excellence Award, the second-tier honor in the VIP program. These schools also met all state and federal accountability benchmarks for at least two consecutive years and made significant progress toward goals for increased student achievement and expanded educational opportunities set by the board.

The schools receiving Board of Education Excellence Awards are as follows:

Albemarle County – Virginia L. Murray Elementary
Arlington County – Arlington Science Focus School, Arlington Traditional, Ashlawn Elementary, McKinley Elementary, Nottingham Elementary and Taylor Elementary
Charlottesville – Greenbrier Elementary
Chesterfield County – Bettie Weaver Elementary, Robious Elementary, Winterpock Elementary and Woolridge Elementary
Fairfax County – Archer Elementary, Canterbury Woods Elementary, Chesterbrook Elementary, Colvin Run Elementary, Cooper Middle, Floris Elementary, Great Falls Elementary, Greenbriar West Elementary, Haycock Elementary, Hunt Valley Elementary, Longfellow Middle, McNair Elementary, Oak Hill Elementary, Spring Hill Elementary, Thoreau Middle, West Springfield Elementary, Westbriar Elementary and Wolftrap Elementary
Hampton – Francis Asbury Elementary
Hanover County – Pearson’s Corner Elementary and Pole Green Elementary
Henrico County – Echo Lake Elementary, Glen Allen Elementary, Nuckols Farm Elementary, Rivers Edge Elementary, Shady Grove Elementary and Twin Hickory Elementary
Loudoun County – Lincoln Elementary and Pinebrook Elementary
Montgomery County – Gilbert Linkous Elementary
Prince William County – Mary G. Porter Traditional and Mountain View Elementary
Pulaski County – Snowville Elementary
Roanoke – Crystal Spring Elementary
Roanoke County – Bonsack Elementary, Cave Spring Middle and Oak Grove Elementary
Virginia Beach – Old Donation Center
Williamsburg-James City County – Matoaka Elementary

2013 Board of Education Distinguished Achievement Awards:

The Board of Education Distinguished Achievement Award was earned by one division – West Point – and 98 schools that met all state and federal benchmarks for at least two consecutive years and made progress toward the goals of the governor and the board.

The schools receiving Distinguished Achievement awards are as follows:

Albemarle County – Hollymead Elementary, Meriwether Lewis Elementary and Mortimer Y. Sutherland Middle
Amherst County – Temperance Elementary
Arlington County – Henry Elementary and Jamestown Elementary
Carroll County – Fancy Gap Elementary
Charlotte County – Eureka Elementary
Charlottesville – Venable Elementary
Chesterfield County – Elizabeth Scott Elementary, Enon Elementary, Grange Hall Elementary and W.W. Gordon Elementary
Danville – Forest Hills Elementary
Fairfax County – Camelot Elementary, Forest Edge Elementary, Fox Mill Elementary, Franklin Middle, Frost Middle, Kent Gardens Elementary, Kings Glen Elementary, Mantua Elementary, Oakton Elementary, Olde Creek Elementary, Sherman Elementary, Springfield Estates Elementary, Stratford Landing Elementary, Sunrise Valley Elementary, Vienna Elementary, Westgate Elementary and Willow Springs Elementary
Falls Church – Mount Daniel School and Thomas Jefferson Elementary
Franklin County – Boones Mill Elementary, Burnt Chimney Elementary, Gereau Center for Applied Technology and Career Exploration and Snow Creek Elementary
Gloucester County – Achilles Elementary
Hampton – Armstrong Elementary
Hanover County – Cool Spring Elementary, Kersey Creek Elementary, South Anna Elementary and Washington-Henry Elementary
Henrico County – Arthur Ashe Jr. Elementary, Colonial Trail Elementary, Gayton Elementary, Jackson Davis Elementary, Pemberton Elementary, Short Pump Elementary, Springfield Park Elementary, Three Chopt Elementary and Tuckahoe Elementary
Henry County – Rich Acres Elementary
Isle of Wight County – Carrsville Elementary
Loudoun County – Aldie Elementary, Ashburn Elementary, Belmont Station Elementary, Hamilton Elementary, Liberty Elementary, Lowes Island Elementary and Round Hill Elementary
Montgomery County – Auburn Elementary and Harding Avenue Elementary
Norfolk – Larchmont Elementary
Prince George County – L.L. Beazley Elementary
Prince William County – A. Henderson Elementary, Thurgood Marshall Elementary and Westridge Elementary
Richmond – Broad Rock Elementary
Roanoke – Fishburn Park Elementary, Grandin Court Elementary and Wasena Elementary
Roanoke County – Back Creek Elementary, Cave Spring Elementary, Clearbrook Elementary, Fort Lewis Elementary, Glenvar Middle, Green Valley Elementary, Penn Forest Elementary and W.E. Cundiff Elementary
Rockingham County – Peak View Elementary and South River Elementary
Russell County – Cleveland Elementary
Scott County – Weber City Elementary
Spotsylvania County – Chancellor Elementary
Stafford County – Garrisonville Elementary
Suffolk – Northern Shores Elementary
Tazewell County – Abb’s Valley-Boissevain Elementary
Virginia Beach – John B. Dey Elementary, Kingston Elementary and Red Mill Elementary
Waynesboro – Westwood Hills Elementary
West Point – West Point Elementary
Williamsburg-James City County – Matthew Whaley Elementary and Rawls Byrd Elementary
Wise County – Coeburn Primary
York County – Coventry Elementary and Mount Vernon Elementary


RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Officials say 151 public schools and one school division in Virginia have earned the highest awards given under a state incentive program.

Gov. Bob McDonnell announced the winners of the 2013 Virginia Index of Performance awards on Wednesday.

The Virginia Board of Education created the incentive program in 2007. It recognizes schools and divisions that exceed minimum state and federal accountability standards and achieve excellence goals established by the governor and the board.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright says the program provides incentives for schools to expand academic opportunities for all students and to adopt best practices that result in engaging, safe and healthy learning environments.

Amendment Bars Abortion in Va Federal Exchange

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Gov. Bob McDonnell wants to prohibit abortion coverage through insurance plans purchased through the federally run health care exchange that will serve Virginia.

The Republican governor added the amendment to health reform legislation that passed the General Assembly earlier this year, outraging abortion rights advocates.

Unless opponents can muster at least 51 votes in the 100-member, Republican-ruled House of Delegates and 21 votes in the state Senate, the sweeping abortion restriction will become law.

Under the amendment, not only will insurers who are part of the federal exchange be unable to offer plans that cover abortion, they can’t write separate, optional riders covering it.

The only coverage exceptions would be for rape, incest or protect the life of a pregnant woman.

DC Metro Service Alerts Added to Google App

WASHINGTON (AP) — Commuters can now keep up to date on Metro service alerts with their smartphone.

Google says it has added real-time service alerts from Metro to its Google Maps app for smartphones. The search giant says it now provides information on more than a million transit stops worldwide.

Metro spokesman Dan Stessel says the app adds to the transit agency’s existing service alert and advisory system.

The alerts are available on Google’s Maps app for its Android operating system and Apple’s iOS devices.

Martinsville Keeps Top Jobless Rate in February

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The city of Martinsville’s jobless rate remained the highest in Virginia in February.

The Virginia Employment Commission says the city’s seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate was 15.4 percent, down from 16.7 percent in January and 16.2 percent a year ago. The statewide rate for February was 5.7 percent.

Nationally, the seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate for February was 8.1 percent. Rates dropped from last year in 287 metropolitan areas, increased in 69 and were flat in 16.

Arlington County had Virginia’s lowest jobless rate with 3.6 percent in February, followed by 4.1 percent in Loudoun and Fairfax counties.

The Danville region had the highest unemployment rate among Virginia’s metropolitan regions at 7.9 percent. The Washington metropolitan region that includes Arlington and Alexandria had the lowest jobless rate of 4.4 percent.

In Q1, McAuliffe Grosses $5.1M, Cuccinelli $2.4M

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Democratic fundraising maven Terry McAuliffe raked in $5.1 million for his own Virginia gubernatorial quest the first quarter of this year.

His Republican rival, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, raised about $2.4 million, but had about half the time to do it because of the law banning officeholders from raising cash during the 46-day General Assembly session.

McAuliffe, a former Democratic National Committee chairman and master rainmaker for Bill and Hillary Clinton’s presidential bids, raised 21 percent more than he did for the same period four years ago when he lost the nomination to rival Creigh Deeds.

Cuccinelli’s first quarter totals were 8 percent ahead of Republican Bob McDonnell’s $2.2 million for the same quarter in 2009.

McAuliffe started April with nearly $5.2 million in the bank to Cuccinelli’s $3 million.

White House Security Increased After Boston Blasts

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Secret Service says it has expanded its security perimeter around the White House following the explosions at the Boston marathon.

Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary says the perimeter was expanded out of an abundance of caution, and it’s not unusual for the agency to expand or contract security perimeters.

Metropolitan Police, meanwhile, say the department is on heightened security status, but did not provide any further information. And Metro Transit Police say they have ordered all day shift patrol officers to stay on duty through the evening rush.

In Maryland, Prince George’s County Police say they have increased security at all critical infrastructure in the county. Baltimore officials also say public safety agencies have moved to a state of heightened awareness.

Police and paramedics respond to two explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, April 15, 2013. ABC News photo.